Monday, May 2, 2011

Gotcha! (The Prequel)

As you may or may not know, every year there is a social gathering of White House and Capitol Hill press correspondents and top Washington political brass to celebrate the difficult, awkward, but good-natured relationship between the politicians and the media that cover them. Hosted by the White House Correspondents' Association, the Correspondents's Dinner has been a Washington tradition since 1920.

The Dinner has always included performances by contemporary singers and comedians as highlights of the evening, and frequently the sitting President speaks as well; usually with jokes about himself and his colleagues. In recent years, there have been a few controversial performances by the invited performers. Most notably, Stephen Colbert's act in 2006 was especially contentious due to his scathing satire of conservative punditry and targeting of The Bush Administration.

Ironically, this year's Dinner took place on April 30th, just one evening before President Obama announced the death and capture of Osama bin Laden. And though the recent news coverage has been concerned with the responses surrounding this event (and rightly so), I feel the importance, relevance, and risk of this year's Correspondents' Dinner has been underestimated.

Because Obama incinerated Donald Trump this weekend.

Look at Trump! He ain't happy!

It's been rather unfair that Donald Trump, with his deliciously media savvy haircut, has been able to take control of this extravagant "birther" issue while the President has had to focus on nagging stuff like the deficit and national security. I've been waiting to see how Obama was going to allow himself to say Trump's name and still be presidential.

It's a really tough thing to do. The President would be devaluing himself if he acknowledged and addressed every wacko and dummy that drags his name through the mud; there are more pressing matters to attend. But the Dinner gave the President the perfect forum from which he could approach "The Donald" like the joke he really is; a less formal, more cordial, and more playful audience that is as inside the joke as they can get. I got the impression from watching this that most of the press recognize the marginality of Trump's political aspirations as much as anyone else.

Trump recognized that the President can, and will, push back. And he'll do it with his target sitting in the room. Reconsider much?


P.S. I'm not sure if it's right to celebrate someone's death, even if that someone is as warped and malevolent as bin Laden. I feel like cheering about it some times, and at others I don't. But I wholehearted believe our global society can move forward with more unity and less fear without his influence. And I surely won't miss him.

No comments:

Post a Comment